International Nurses Day 2021: A Voice to Lead – A Vision for Future Healthcare

International Nurses Day 2021

While it is the day to express gratitude to the compassionate and hardworking nursing staff, it is also the moment to show how the nursing profession will transform the next stage of healthcare as the International Council of Nurses says, writes Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee.


International Nurses Day is observed on May 12 every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale who was born this day in 1820. The world’s nursing fraternity pay respect to the most revered nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale, who is credited to have laid the foundations of modern nursing.

This important day is being observed in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also an opportune time to acknowledge and appreciate the profound contributions of the nursing community that has emerged as the backbone of hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics dedicated to recovering crores of patients from the novel coronavirus infection as well as administer Covid-19 vaccines for over 14 months—all these by putting their lives at risk.

“There are just under 28 million (2.8 crore) nurses worldwide. Between 2013 and 2018, nursing numbers increased by 4.7 million (47 lakh). But this still leaves a global shortfall of 5.9 million (59 lakh)- with the greatest gaps found in countries in Africa, South East Asia and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region as well as some parts of Latin America,” a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Nursing Now reads.


Revealingly, the report added, “more than 80% of the world’s nurses work in countries that are home to half of the world’s population. And one in every eight nurses practices in a country other than the one where they were born or trained. Ageing also threatens the nursing workforce: one out of six of the world’s nurses is expected to retire in the next 10 years.”

ICN celebrates this day each year by producing and distributing the International Nurses Day resources and evidence. This year’s theme for its resource is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A vision for future healthcare. “In 2021, we seek to show how nursing will look into the future as well how the profession will transform the next stage of healthcare,” ICN said.

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